Lahti starts to utilise the swim bladders of fish obtained from selective fishing – a new beer is launched as part of the Wasted Potential beer series
The swim bladders of fish are used as an ingredient in the newest beer of the City of Lahti, the European Green Capital 2021, and Ant Brew. The fish obtained through selective fishing from the local Lake Vesijärvi helps in the maintenance and protection of the lake but also enables the utilisation of a new ingredient.
The Finnish City of Lahti is known for its bold environmental actions. The Wasted Potential beer series celebrates Lahti’s title as the European Green Capital 2021 and the circular economy. Other beers of the Wasted Potential series have utilised ingredients such as wild herbs, fruit waste and goose droppings.
The next beer of the series is the result of a new cooperation with The Fisheries Local Action Group of Central Finland (Sisä-Suomen Kalatalousryhmä) who came up with the idea of using swim bladders of roach in the beer making. This is how the unique Blonde Ale, Find the Fish, which will be launched in May, was born.
– The beer series is our contribution to Lahti’s year as the European Green Capital. It points out important themes such as circular economy, reduction of food waste and promotion of local and wild food. As we saw with our earlier beer that was made with goose droppings, we are not afraid to use unusual ingredients in our beer. Now we are experimenting again with a new beer and at the same time telling people about the selective fishing in Lake Vesijärvi, explains Kari Putkonen, Brewery Manager at Ant Brew.
Unique beer tells the story of Lake Vesijärvi and showcases circular economy
The conservation of Lake Vesijärvi is a textbook example of management and protection of water bodies, and it has served as an example for conservation projects both in Finland and abroad. In 1989–1993, extensive selective fishing was started in Lake Vesijärvi, located near the city centre, in order to prevent eutrophication of the lake. 1,000 tons of mostly smelt and roach was removed by trawls from Enonselkä Basin, a lake basin of Lake Vesijärvi. This significantly improved the water quality of the lake.
– Lahti is a leading city in circular economy, but the conservation project of Vesijärvi was the stimulus for the environmental conservation work. Without the research and cooperation initiatives done for the conservation of Vesijärvi, we would not have been the first city in Finland selected as the European Green Capital. The new beer represents two important environmental themes for the City of Lahti: management and protection of water bodies and circular economy, says Saara Piispanen, Head of Communications at the European Green Capital project.
Selective fishing still plays an important role – swim bladders used as a clarification agent
Vesijärvi is still a eutrophic lake with abundant fish population. With continuous selective fishing, Lahti strives to control the roach population in the lake to reduce the eutrophication process, support the population of commercially valuable fish and remove nutrients. In 2021, more than 70,000 kilos of fish were removed from the lake through selective fishing.
The fish is delivered to the use of food industry and to private households free of charge. Currently, the most important final product of the selective fishing is the preserved roach. The swim bladders of Finnish fish have not reportedly been used in beer making before.
The swim bladders are dried and used for preparing a substance named Isinglass. It flocculates the yeast and proteins in the beer, making the beer clearer. Swim bladders of sturgeon were originally used for the clarification, but today almost all Isinglass products are made from tropical fish.
The new beer of the Wasted Potential series is part of an initiative for improving the value chain of locally produced fish in Inland Finland. In addition to Ant Brew, Lahti – the European Green Capital 2021 project and the City of Lahti, the fish shop Salpausselän kala and South Savo Vocational College Esedu are also participating in the making of the new Find the Fish beer.
Coordinator, The Fisheries Local Action Group of Central Finland
+358 44 744 0396, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brewery Manager, Ant Brew
+358 50 302 8181, email@example.com
Head of Communications, Lahti — European Green Capital 2021
+358 44 416 4680, firstname.lastname@example.org